MIDWAY, Fla. (WTXL) -- Officials from the Climate Prediction Center and NOAA released their annual Atlantic hurricane season forecast that is in line with expectations from other meteorological research groups and firms.
According to NOAA, there's a high chance of experiencing below-average numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.
NOAA forecasters anticipate between six and 11 named storms to develop, with sustained winds of at least 39 mph. Of those, three to six will reach hurricane strength with winds of 74 mph.
Up to two major hurricanes are predicted to form. A major hurricane contains peak winds of 111 mph or higher.
The emergence of the El Niño global weather pattern is primarily responsible for the lowered amount of tropical cyclone action. Upper-level winds tend to increase across the western Atlantic basin, which tends to disrupt the structure and circulation of tropical systems.
The El Niño feature may offset the effects of warmer sea surface water temperatures that have been noted in the weeks leading up to the hurricane season, which begins June 1.
It's worthy to note that even inactive seasons can produce devastating systems when they impact land. It only takes one tropical storm or hurricane to make the season active and memorable for areas hit by such a storm.